The UK National Security Strategy – good to know we’re being looked after
I would like everybody to sleep easy tonight. Our esteemed government has published its National Security Strategy.
…the National Security Council has overseen the development of a proper National Security Strategy, for the first time in this country’s history.
Right from the outset, this promises to be something momentous. And to a degree, it is. ‘Cyber security’ is elevated to the second highest threat facing the United Kingdom, second only to terrorism, for the next five years. This is new. This is exciting for anyone involved in cyber security. But I’m afraid to say, that’s just about as far as it goes.
Oh yes, there is a short passage describing the cyber threat (about half the size and quality of a sixth form homework essay); but just about nothing on what to do. Except, perhaps, for one sentence:
For example, business and government will need to work much more closely together to strengthen our defence against cyber attack and to prepare for the worst…
That’s a bit worrying. Whenever government says that business must work with government, it really means that business must pay for what government wants. But business never pays for anything – it just passes the cost on to the consumer. And that’s you and me. So here’s my interpretation of the National (cyber) Security Strategy: as soon as we can get away with it, we’ll implement something like Scott Charney’s Internet Health Certificate and make the ISPs pay for it.
In fairness. the document does eventually specify the new strategy. It concludes that the National Security Council will
…develop a transformative programme for cyber security, which addresses threats from states, criminals and terrorists; and seizes the opportunities which cyber space provides for our future prosperity and for advancing our security interests
And what this tells us is that the spin doctors are still running the asylum. What security man would ever say ‘develop a transformative programme’, or ‘seize the opportunities’? Meaningless spin. (Incidentally, the National Security Strategy is copy protected. It’s obviously in the national security interest that I have to retype all the quotes I’ve used rather than just select and copy and paste. And look carefully – there’s a £14.75 cover charge on the document, because God forbid that we should encourage people to read it.)
Do you think I exaggerate the absurdity of the UK’s official security stance? If you do, let me ask you a question: did you know that this is national ID fraud prevention week? According to http://www.stop-IDfraud.co.uk,
This awareness drive has been put in place by an expert group of public and private sector partners, including the CIFAS, The Association of Chief Police Officers, The City of London Police,The Metropolitan Police, National fraud Authority, The Identity and Passport Service, The British Retail Consortium, The Federation for Small Business, Fellowes, Callcredit, Experian, Equifax, British Chamber of Commerce and Royal Mail.
Impressive, yes? But if you want to learn how to protect your identity, by downloading the identity fraud protection guide, you have to give these people your personal information. Why? Why do they need that? Well, they don’t. But it’s not actually any of this ‘expert group of public and private sector partners’ such as ‘CIFAS, The Association of Chief Police Officers, The City of London Police, The Metropolitan Police, National fraud Authority, The Identity and Passport Service’ and so on that are getting the information. The site was registered and seems to be run by none of these – but by a PR company (actually the PR company for Fellowes, who you will find mid-way in the list of ‘experts’). Fellowes is a paper shredder.
And wait a minute – there’s another site: http://www.national-identity-fraud-prevention-week.co.uk/. This one is a front for ABT Office Supplies (which, incidentally, stocks Fellowes’ products, and majors on paper shredders). So the clear implication is that the national ID fraud prevention week is a fraud operating for the benefit of paper shredders. And if we combine this fraud with the National Security No-Strategy we can come to only one conclusion: our new national security strategy is run by spin doctors for the benefit of government and business.
So sleep easy – we’re in good hands.